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Being Angry Accomplishes Less Than Nothing

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” — Buddha

I posted this quote yesterday on Instagram. I was thinking new month, new start kind of a thing. I wasn’t really thinking about politics when I posted it — shocking as it seems that’s all anyone is thinking about. During the last 24 hours, I’ve realized just how apropos it is.

Everyone is angry. If you hate Trump, you are angry at the post-inauguration developments. If you like Trump, you are probably angry at the antics as well. If you really like Trump, you are angry at the people who are expressing anger toward him. You can argue anger spurs on action, and in some cases you are right. It is when people get frustrated enough, they come together for change. But, I will argue, most of the people who are angry are doing nothing positive with that anger except shouting into the wind or at anyone who will listen, myself included.

Some facts about anger and your health — the goal here is to get you to take some deep breaths, look after yourself and move on.

  1. The chance of having a heart attack doubles 2 hours after an angry outburst. This should give you some indication of how damaging it can be for your cardiovascular system.

  2. People who are prone to anger as a personality trait have twice the risk for heart disease.

  3. Holding on to anger increases your stress and anxiety and increases your risk for depression. I’ve heard so many friends say they are becoming depressed in these weeks following January 20th. Just as we shouldn’t allow terrorists to make us live in fear, we cannot allow political opposition to drive us into a deep depression.

  4. Anger increases your risk for stroke.

  5. Studies show those prone to anger have a shorter life span.

  6. Anger decreases the efficacy of your immune system, which no one needs during this insanely germy February.

  7. While not scientifically proven, anger makes you gain weight. It is my opinion based on observation when people are angry, especially when they are angry and feeling impotent, they make poor food choices.

The way I see it there are two options: be part of the solution or let it go. If you are spending time complaining ad nauseam with people who agree with you, you are wasting that time and making yourself sick. If you are formulating a plan, go for it. Constructive anger is different than the fruitless anger, and is better for your health. Being righteously pissed off not only accomplishes nothing, it is really bad for your wellbeing. Take control of the things you can, your health being one of them.

I did get some advice on how you can make your voice heard if you really want to.

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About Dr. Karen Latimer

I’m a family physician now struggling to take care of a bunch of kids who keep calling me Mom. When I’m not wiping butts, refereeing sibling rivalry and chauffeuring over-scheduled little people, I write a family medical blog that gives you five thoughts on all sorts of different health topics.

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